With the groups stage of Worlds 2021 ending, here are our takeaways from that part of the tournament.
Worlds 2021 Groups Stage was a fun showing given how Week 2 of the format went. There were a lot of upsets and exciting games over the course of the last few days. Thus, there is a lot to unpack with how the Groups stage fared for the teams. Hence, we present to you our takeaways from the Groups Stage phase of the tournament.
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Takeaway 1: LPL Teams In Best Of 1 Formats
Judging for the title of this section, most of you probably know where this is going. The LPL struggled mightily in Week 2 of the Groups Stage by going a combined record of 3-9 excluding tiebreakers. FPX accounts for three losses themselves by bombing out of Group A. While it’s clear that LPL teams were not their best in the groups stage but their performances were not expected to be like this.
To be fair, FPX needs to be excluded and set aside for a different conversation. This is simply because they were struggling from the start of Worlds 2021. They did not look their best, had shaky games and the win against Cloud9 was suspect given if Perkz returned to base, FPX maybe could not have ended there. The fact remains that FPX was just poor at Worlds in general.
However, the rest of the LPL teams fit the narrative. The teams got off to a good start in the first week and then fell short in the second in some manner. EDG was primed for first spot or at least a tiebreaker until they lost to both T1 and 100T in succession. RNG looked like heavy favorites in the group but then came in to be beaten by a weaker Fnatic side and HLE stepping up. Lastly, LNG looked lost in some of their games in the last week despite the win against Gen.G. What this boils down to is the fact that LPL teams do not perform well in best of 1s for one reason or the other.
It’s hard to pinpoint why exactly this is the case. Some would say it’s due to the format they play domestically but teams like MAD Lions struggle in best of 1’s even then. It could be a stylistic thing with LPL teams opting more into flipping games as opposed to a more controlled style. So barring FPX, we could probably put this as an effect of stylistic difference. The question going into the Quarterfinals is whether they will fix their issues going forward.
Takeaway 2: LCK Dominance
While LPL struggled, LCK stepped up and took the chance to reign at the top of three groups. DK being top of their group was expected by many people given they are the defending champions. However, EDG being poor and inconsistent in Week 2 gave T1 the chance to grab that spot. HLE put up a fight for top spot in Group C but RNG came out good at the end. Lastly, Gen.G edged out for the top spot in Group D.
Their dominance can be a direct correlation to LPL’s struggles. While DK was assuredly top in the groups, others were not. T1 would have had to play a tiebreaker if EDG never lost to 100T at the end. RNG was in poor form in the last day which game HLE the window in to force a tiebreaker. Lastly, Gen.G had a group full of teams that were not playing great games in the best of 1 format. The format certainly helps LCK teams given they play a slower and measured style. Question is, do they continue this into the Quarterfinals with us like getting an LCK vs LPL matchup in the finals for the very first time.
Takeaway 3: NA’s Performance
The LCS team played pretty well in the groups stage, particularly in the 2nd week. C9 surged from a winless Week 1 to make it to the quarterfinals. 100T played well in Group B but the loss to DFM diminished their chances of a tiebreaker. Lastly, TL played their tiebreaker against Gen.G but fell short of the mark.
Overall, these teams improved over the course of the groups stage, and it was nice to see the NA teams rise on the international stage. It was kind of ironic that the team with the lowest record made it to the quarterfinals. Well that was because of the fall of FPX for the most part. Regardless, the LCS teams did well in the groups stage, and they deserve a team in the quarterfinals. Only time will tell if they can progress further.
Last Takeaway: Should Riot Change The Format?
This one is more of an opinion than anything else. It piggybacks off the previous points on how certain teams have an edge in this format, and it does not indicate who are the strong teams.
LPL thrives in best of 5 settings and best of 1’s are not really their forte. While the LCK has a similar format to the LPL, their style of play translates very well to a best of 1 format. With how this tournament shaped up and some previous ones as well, maybe Riot should take a look into the format.
A Swiss format could do wonders if done right or even any other format that would not be an entire one-off of games. It is unlikely that happens but it is an idea that should be floated around to test if it can work.
Groups Stage was a fun part of the tournament to watch. There were a bunch of upsets and good matches in the phase. We explain some aspects we take away from this year’s group stage and hopefully the knockouts will be even better. With that, we conclude the article as Worlds 2021 will be back from 22nd with the first quarterfinals.